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"The Big Idea: Contemporary Ad Campaigns" Course

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"The Big Idea: Contemporary Ad Campaigns" Course - Option 1

The Big Idea / The New School / Spring 2007

By Kurt Brokaw

This is a three-credit course. Class members will work on four assignments in two-person teams. The first three assignments count 15% each; the fourth assignment counts 35%; and your class participation counts 20%.

The primary goal of the course is to infuse each class member and team with knowledge of the advertising process in today's marketplace as well as the creative processes of conceptualization and execution, so that each team can devise original and persuasive ads and commercials.

As a class, you are free in our first three meetings to self-select your own 'partner,' and you are encouraged to do this. The only requirement is that your partner must be a fellow class member. The ideal team partners a person with writing interests with a person with design interests. Person(s) without partner(s) after our third meeting will be linked by the instructor. The grade for each assignment will go to both partners; class participation is considered on an individual basis.

The secondary goal of the course is to accomplish the first goal in a positive, supportive and stimulating environment. The classroom should always be a safe, inviting place in which to explore, discover, discuss, sift and winnow ideas and viewpoints and what-ifs and dreams. This is not the workplace. This is, in a real sense, a lab course with more than a few similarities to science courses. You will be experimenting with your own imagination as well as that of another person who you may not know very well, or at all. We'll do everything possible to make the journey a productive and happy one. Your emails are answered promptly and your instructor is available to meet with you before or after class, as needed.

Text(s). You will need Advertising Strategy: Creative Tactics From The Outside/In (2006, Sage Publications) by Tom Altstiel and Jean Grow. The New School section at Barnes & Noble at 18th and Fifth Ave. has new copies; used copies may be available online at BN.com/Amazon.com/abebooks.com/bookfinder.com There are 17 chapters and our sessions will be weaving their way through most chapter material week after week.

The other text, which will be a good optional investment, is Mad Ave: Award-Winning Advertising of the 20th Century. (2000, Universe Publishing, Rizzoli). This is a publication of the Art Directors Club of New York, edited by Jackie Merri Meyer. It is out-of-print but copies turn up online as well as in the design/advertising section (second floor) of the Strand Bookstore at 12th & Broadway (around $15). This volume of a century of award winners will inspire every copywriter and art director.

There are a number of additional handouts from week to week covering
many aspects of the creative process. We view numerous commercials and a variety of film clips in class.

Course Outline (Starting Mondays, Jan. 22, 8:00 to 9:50 p.m.)

The Workplace. We begin with a general overview of how the relationship between advertising writers and art directors has evolved from the first half to the second half of last century and into a vastly changed technological world. The organization of agencies and corporate workplaces is reviewed--who creative people report to, how they interface with account, media and interactive personnel as well as brand managers, advertising and marketing heads who are agency clients. Select AICP award winners are screened.

Assignment: Obtain "Advertising Strategy" and read the first chapter, "Copy and Creativity"; if possible, talk with potential partners before /after class

The Process. Using "Copy and creativity" as our starting point, we examine the production process--creation, revision, making the sale, casting/selecting photogs, illustrators, production houses, the shoot, editing, scoring, presentation, testing. We view a stunning exercise in creative imagery--Kylie Minogue's "Come Into My World," by Michel Gondry. (His commercials for Foo Fighters, White Stripes, Chemical Brothers will be shown later.) The team relationship is reviewed.

Assignment: Read the second and third chapters, "Getting Started" and "Issues In A Changing Marketplace"; Talk with/select your advertising partner

The Blocks. The chapters on "Getting started" and "Issues in a Changing marketplace" frame this session on unblocking the imagination through trial-and-error. We contrast the steps an actor uses in learning a role with the artist's work on a canvas, viewing several scenes from Jacques Rivette's 1991 film, "La Belle Noiseuse," celebrated by the New York Times' Vincent Canby as "nothing less than an examination of one of life's great mysteries, the artist's creative process...as sacred as it is mysterious," with Emmanuelle Beart as the model for Michel Piccoli's painter. Team relationships are set and Assignment #1 (on public service/cause) is yours.

Assignment: Begin work on Assignment #1 with your partner. Read chapter four, "Concepting (What's the Big Idea)"

The Beginnings. Class exercises in blue-skying and brainstorming are held. Initial concepts are considered and contrasted with strategic objectives and budgetary goals. We view several years of award-winning AICP student entries, discussing concepts and executions of the commercials. A final portion of class time is given to team work sessions.

Assignment: Continue work on Assignment #1 with your partner. Read chapter five, "Design for Writers"

The Transition. Assignment #1 is due at this session. Assignment #2 (business/corporate) is yours. Design elements of unity, balance, layout and typography are discussed. We view examples of Stephen Frankfurt's 'Design In Motion' principle that informs his classic motion picture campaigns (the title credits for "To Kill A Mockingbird"), print campaigns for "Alien" and "Rosemary's Baby"). We also examine samples of master designer/illustrator Milton Glaser from his landmark "Art Is Work" book, including concepts for the retail and corporate marketplaces.

Assignment: Begin work on Assignment #2 with your partner. Read chapter sixteen, "Business To Business"

The Business. Our first invited guest, Matt Miller, President of AICP (The Association of Independent Commercial Producers), gives his perspectives on overall student work as well as an overview of commercial production worldwide, with attention to office products, manufacturers and the general category of durables and hard goods. Teams can Q&A Miller on their developing concepts/executions for the assignment.

Assignment: Continue work on Assignment #2 with your partner. Read chapter fourteen, "Internet"

The Music. Assignment #2 is due at this session. Assignment #3 (on a singer/band) is yours. You'll be creating for new and/or interactive media. Attention is given to active/static content, rich media banners, interstitials, emails, instant messaging, Google/MySpace and other online properties. Leading edge music videos by Michel Gondry are reviewed.

Assignment: Begin work on Assignment #3 with your partner. Read chapter nine, "Print"

The Audience. Our guest, Chris Brokaw, will cover how his music as a singer/songwriter/lead guitarist/bandleader/film composer over 20 years (Come, Codeine, Steve Wynn, Evan Dando, The New Year, Consonant, CB Rock Band, feature films "I Was Born, But..." and "Road") are promoted through the Internet and other online media. Commercial licensing is discussed. Teams can Q&A Chris on their developing work.

Assignment: Continue work on Assignment #3 with your partner. Read chapter ten, "Out-of-Home"

The Brand. Assignment #3 is due at this session. Assignment #4 (on package goods) is yours. We devote this session to a review of the branding process and out-of-home media, the fastest-growing corner of the media marketplace. Guerilla/stealth marketing are considered with current examples from the NYC cityscape. An overview of the changing package goods marketplace, and the key role of the agency account planner is discussed. AICP campaign award winners are screened.

Assignment: Begin work on Assignment #4 with your partner. Read chapter six, "Campaigns"

The Writer. Our guest, Doris Burke, is a veteran copywriter and creative supervisor on major package goods accounts at Grey, Foote,Cone & Belding (now part of Draft), and Ally & Gargano. She'll bring her expertise on conceptualizing and executing for across-the-board media as well as insights on reaching and building brand loyalty with women at various stages of their lives. Teams can Q&A Ms Burke on developing concepts/executions of this assignment.

Assignment: Continue work on Assignment #4 with your partner. Read chapter fifteen, "Promotions & Point of Purchase"

The Art Director. Our guest, Arhur Korant, is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Double Platinum, the leading agency specializing in marketing/advertising initiatives for the gay/lesbian market. Like Doris, he was also a VP/Creative Supervisor at Grey, and designed numerous campaigns for Procter & Gamble brands. He'll share his expertise on creating for many different consumer groups. Teams can Q&A Korant on developing concepts/executions of this assignment.

Assignment: Continue working on Assignment #4 with your partner. Read chapter eight, "Body Copy"

The Exploratory. Doris Burke returns and will view/listen to creative exploratories and work-in-progress by class teams. This session will serve to guide and direct teams in finalizing on the core direction of the work flow. Teams will have class time to work together and with Ms. Burke in styling and honing the direction of their messages in televison as well as support media. An intercept research exercise is distributed.

Assignment: Continue working on Assignment #4 with your partner. Conduct outside intercept research on your campaign

The Research. Each team will report on the results of its informal intercept research among students/teachers/consumers of the campaign in its developmental stage. Refinements, suggestions, knowledge gained will be shared. Limitations of research--one exposure, unfinished execu- tions. be-positive biases, the consumer-as-critic--are critically analysed.

Assignment: Continue working on Assignment #4 with your partner. Read "The Art Of Writing Advertising: Conversations. With Masters of the Craft" (Handout)

The Details. Our focus in this final preparation session is two-fold: to consider the contributions of some of the greatest practitioners of the art and craft of advertising--Bill Bernbach, Mary Wells, David Ogilvy, Lee Clow, George Lois, Helmet Krone, Caroline Jones, Nina DeSesa, Ralph Ammirati, Emil Gargano, Ed McCabe, Linda Kaplan Thayer, David Lubars, Helene Spivak--as well as to finalize your campaign preparation.

Assignment: Complete Assignment #4 with your partner. Read chapter seventeen, "Selling It"

The Sell. Our 15th and final class is given over to team presentations of individual campaigns. Each team will be given an equal amount of time--to be determined entirely by the number of teams presenting over 110 minutes--and all work should be turned in at this meeting. (Campaigns after grading will be returned to their creators.)


Do You Know Leslie Laredo? If Not, You Should...


If you have a yearning to improve the quality of your @work time in order to have the same effect on your at-leisure time, we venture to say that Leslie Laredo and her talented team can help you with the former so you can better enjoy the latter.

We've been trained by The Laredo Group and look where it's gotten us? Well, perhaps there are better examples! There are...

The Laredo 500 includes many Fortune 500 companies as well as many smaller high-growth companies about to nudge a few of the Fortune list aside. You can be part of that.

Or, say you've just created your next-gen empire or want to advance your pace of growth, personally, economically and rolodex-ically (yes it is a word...a relatively new one, we'll give you that), you should be there.

Why? There's something really special about her events. They're personal. It attracts an equally unique group of attendees. You'll meet interesting people and even have a little fun. If you've been to a Laredo Group event, or if you've heard Leslie speak, you're like us. You recommend them to your friends, to people you care about.

Leslie's events offers realistic & productive website marketing consulting, based on her real-world experience. We think you'll also find that she offers the best Internet and integrated media sales training as well as on the buying side as well.

Interactive is fun again. This time, it actually works. People aren't talking about an "exit strategy" anymore, be it a personal choice or an impersonal one.

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Please review the links below to learn more about The Laredo Group and the next series of tours. Registrations are being accepted now for the Dallas, NYC, DC, LA, Cincinnati, Toronto, Miami, Atlanta events:

Search Engine Marketing

Media Sales & Buying Training

By just visiting The Laredo Group site alone you'll learn something about the future that you didn't know before. For more information about Leslie and a wider array of Laredo Group training courses, both individual and company-specific, click on The Laredo Group, or drop us a line at editor@madisonavenuejournal.com.

Brokaw's "20th Century Rebels" at the 92nd St. Y

"Our second season of partnering a leading crime writer with a premiere science fiction & fantasy writer. These are the two best-selling genres in Manhattan and the Chandler/Bradbury duo should have even more popular appeal than our first outing with Philip K. Dick and Jim Thompson."

Course Description: "20th Century Rebels II: Raymond Chandler and Ray Bradbury".

By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor
Begins Thursday, Feb. 8, 7:00-9:00 p.m. for 8 sessions $195 #LH3LT29-01
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue @ 92nd Street

Chandler's incorruptible private eyes and femme fatales redefined detective fiction and shaped film noir. Bradbury, at 87 the greatest living science fiction writer, carries new generations to the stars. Both transcend genres and have created enduring literature. Read and discuss their best novels and stories. View select film scenes.

Review Chandler and Bradbury's lives, starting with their penny-a-word pulp stories in Dime Detective and Super Science. Compare film scenes from Murder My Sweet with The Illustrated Man and It Came From Outer Space.

Forming The Metaphors
Bradbury's time-travel, Martian adventures plus a story co-written with Leigh Brackett invent new literary forms. The story The Veldt (and its rare playscript) chillingly predict a child's virtual-reality nursery of the future.

Burning Issues: Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury's 1953 novel challenges McCarthyism, as a fireman assigned to burn books instead begins to read--and to think. View scenes from Francois Truffaut's 1966 visionary film with Julie Christie.

A New Hardboiled Language
Out of.Lady In The Lake plus two other pulp tales that became The Big Sleep, Chandler invents Philip Marlowe and the environments, behaviors, dialogue and even wardrobes unique to tough-guy writing.

Myths And Mists of Childhood
Often compared with To Kill A Mockingbird and Winesberg Ohio in their evocations of bygone eras, Bradbury's Dandelion Wine is a poetic, wondrous coming-of-age biographical novel set in 1928 Illinois.

Pulp To Noir To Literature
Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye are neon-lit portraits of L.A. in the 1930s/40s. Deleted and expanded scenes from the 1944/45 versions of The Big Sleep show Lauren Bacall becoming a star.

Laughter Replaces Terror
Bradbury's continuing carnival images are fully realized in his favorite novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, an allegorical fantasy. Onscreen, Jason Robards partners Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark.

Sample Bradbury's many mystery/ crime stories and his screenplay for John Huston's Moby Dick, plus Chandler's fantasy tale and screenplays for Double Indemnity and Strangers On A Train. Preview the leading creators of graphic novels today.

Only "Steal" From The Best


Ad Buzz continuously provides a truly outstanding MadAve media resource, whether you're a beginner, intermediate or expert "Guru". The word "Guru" is too often used as a term for aged folks who've spent more time with a calculator or excel spreadsheet than with their family, so by definition, if a Media Guru was so smart, how come they are a Media Guru?

Expressed (oddly) another way, what is the sound of one media impression?

But seriously, there are at least 5 different ways of defining Guru: which are not media related. AdBuzz actually deserves the title, if one assumes that a Media Guru has so much media knowledge that they are worthy of MadAve respect. Then so be it.

The term steal is used not because of its definition, but rather because AdBuzz does such a great job providing most everything media departments do (ignoring real life and real time media planning of course), that its being made available free to "the street" or to the classroom is so astounding that one might feel the need to download it quick, before its authors realize they have a virtual hole in their pocket.

MACVIDEONY Creative Work

Hey Google, Save the Curbs

Next-Gen Mobile Carrier: Magee

Sarah Fay in wwwLand, Parts 1 thru 3.

Alan Chapell Goes Public on Privacy, Parts 1-3.

800 lb Gorilla Fandango Makes Noise at App Planet

Agency Rich Media Lovers Boogie as Palm Gets "Flash-y"

Churchill @ the Mobile UpFront

Google's Buzz Gets Stoned @ the WMC

Don't Go Into the Bathroom!